2019 Jubilarian – Marjorie (Ann Gregory) McFarland

When I look back and reflect on my life as an IHM, I conjure up in my mind images …

I see so many things that have been part of my life in the congregation. Going way back, I can look down long corridors in Monroe and recall the white veils, creased scapulars …

But what I perceive most clearly are smiling young faces, eager eyes and reverent prayerfulness.

Life was very different then, our life together in the Novitiate and later, at the parish missions. When I recall the varied convents I lived in, I remember the silence, the austerity; the memory comes back of sisters working and praying and living beside me with all the structures and costumes of past times. Yet, I recall that laughter and innocent fun were also part of our life together.

It’s easy to conjure up the “dominant superior,” the “clanging bell” calling us to leave everything and run to Chapel. It all sounds so frightening now … but we stayed – I stayed. As I grew and changed, I saw ever more clearly how I was enabled to live a fulfilling life with satisfaction in a fulfilling ministry and in the close company of people who had similar desires and aspirations.

For 15 years, I taught in upper elementary and junior high classes, and for 13 years as a language teacher in high school. After that (and another master’s degree), I moved to religious education on the parish level and later on the diocesan level. All of these were growing times with numerous little turning points all along the way.

But it was the imploding experience of Vatican II that was the greatest turning point. It brought a new awareness of spirituality and helped put flesh on, and fill out the deeper meaning of, religious life for me. The opportunity of further study on seminary and university levels; the educational and inspirational offerings of our own congregation; and especially our six-year theology project all helped me say “YES,” once again, to the life to which God has called me.